Georgians from the 14th Congressional District may know Tom Graves as their congressman, a dedicated conservative who served in the Georgia General Assembly for more than seven years before being elected to Congress in 2010.
What many may not know is that Graves has a long history of moving forward and upward. He started his first business and hired his first employee when he was 17 years old. He went on to buy another business, to invest in real estate, and he holds a degree in finance from the University of Georgia. He now serves on the House Appropriations Committee in Washington, D.C.
In a Jan. 10 interview, Graves shared his thoughts on serving in Congress, President Trump and DACA.
The best part of serving in Congress, Graves said, is the joy of being a servant to the people of his district. "I have the opportunity to directly impact and make a positive difference in the lives of individuals and families," he said.
The down side? "My family is separated a lot. My wife is a teacher in Gordon County, so we’re not together as much as we’d like to be. You don’t get to be there for every one of your kids’ games or ceremonies. It’s something that only works if the whole family believes in it."
Graves said he’s fortunate that his family is supportive of what he does.
And what about the president? What is the view of someone who works closely with him, someone whose experience is first-hand?
Graves said he has acted with, worked with and visited with President Trump. "The president has great energy and zeal," Graves said. "He’s a man who is deeply committed to what he thinks is right for the American people, regardless of personal or political consequences."
"President Trump," said Graves, "is open and transparent. It’s different from anything I’ve seen in my years in politics. He’s willing to get up early and work late to accomplish what he wants. I haven’t experienced his level of commitment in politics before."
Graves said he respects the president’s critics, but "they can’t dispute the results. The economy is growing, the stock market is up, GDP is up, we have 1.8 million new jobs and unemployment is at a 17-year low. Taxes are going down and we’re strengthening our military."
Many people are worried about DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program established in 2012 by then-president Barack Obama.
The first thing people need to understand about DACA, said Graves, is what it means: Deferred Action. "What it did was put people on hold. The action it refers to was not cancelled, it was only deferred. This population needs to know where they stand, what their options are. President Trump has told Congress that they are the only ones who can legally make immigration law and they need to come up with a better plan. They need to bring certainty to something that is uncertain for people now."
Our immigration system is broken, Graves said. "We need a system that works. The president has told Congress that he will sign what they deliver on this."
Graves said that the president is committed to America being a nation of laws.
"Like any working relationship," said Graves, "the president and I have our differences, but it’s more a matter of preferences than principles. The president is working for the good of America and he’s working hard at it."